Monday, September 26, 2005

Ijtihad.

Bismi'llah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim...for the sake of Prophet Muhammad saws and Sheikh Nazim may Allah protect his secret.

I´ve seen some intelligent pieces on the net recently about the subject if ijtihad, here is a link to one I saw today. The two replies by Umm Taqwa are very knowledgeable and clear also and it is worth following the link at the end of them for further reading on Jurisprudence where chapter nineteen deals with the subject in more depth.

Here are some quotes which I picked out as I am concerned not only that ijtihad may have fallen into disuse but also that enthusiastic but uneducated people may fasten on the idea as being an example of how Islam is more liberal and flexible than the modern ideas of law and government and somehow allows anyone to make their own judgements and laws based on their own thinking ( which is clearly not the case as the last paragraph shows);

Notwithstanding the fact that human reason always played an important role in the development of Shari'ah through the medium of ijtihad, the Shari’ah itself is primarily founded in divine revelation.


The quest for better solutions and more refined alternatives lies at the very heart of ijtihad, which must, according to the classical formulations of usul alfiqh, never be allowed to discontinue. For ijtihad is wajib kafa’i, a collective obligation of the Muslim community and its scholars to exert themselves in order to find solutions to new problems and to provide the necessary guidance in matters of law and religion.




The principal objective of usul al-fiqh is to regulate ijtihad and to guide the jurist in his effort at deducing the law from its sources. The need for the methodology of usul al-fiqh became prominent when unqualified persons attempted to carry out ijtihad, and the risk of error and confusion in the development of Shari'ah became a source of anxiety for the ulema. The purpose of usul al-fiqh is to help the jurist to obtain an adequate knowledge of the sources of Shari’ah and of the methods of juristic deduction and inference. Usul al-fiqh also regulates the application of qiyas, istihsan, istishab, istislah, etc., whose knowledge helps the jurist to distinguish as to which method of deduction is best suited to obtaining the hukm shar'i of a particular problem. Furthermore, usul al-fiqh enables the jurist to ascertain and compare strength and weakness in ijtihad and to give preference to that ruling of ijtihad which is in close harmony with the nusus.

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